Roger Federer to partner Rafael Nadal for final match at Laver Cup

Roger Federer‘s glittering career will come to an end alongside Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup on Friday as the pair prepare to team up for the tournament’s first doubles match.

Federer announced earlier this month that the Laver Cup would mark his final competition before his retirement, having struggled with injury problems during the latter stages of his career.

The 41-year-old has not played since last year’s Wimbledon owing to knee surgery, and he will take part in just one doubles match at the Laver Cup alongside Big Three rival Nadal.

Federer and Nadal have won a remarkable 42 Grand Slam titles between them and will represent Team Europe against Team World’s Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock on Friday evening.

Federer – who has won a total of 103 singles titles on the ATP Tour – will then make way for Matteo Berrettini for the remainder of the tournament as Team Europe aim to win a fifth consecutive Laver Cup title.

Roger Federer pictured in July 2021© Reuters

Announcing his decision to retire last month, Federer admitted that he listened to the “message” his body was giving him, posting on social media: “Today, I want to share some news with you all.

“As many of you know, the past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries. I’ve worked hard to return to full competitive form. But I also know my body’s capacity and limits, and its message to me lately has been clear.

“I am 41 years old. I have played over 1500 matches over 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt, and now I must recognize when it is time to end my competitive career.

“The Laver Cup next week in London will be my final ATP event. I will play more tennis in the future, of course, but just not in Grand Slams or on the tour.

“This is a bittersweet decision, because I will miss everything the tour has given me. But at the same time, there is so much to celebrate. I consider myself one of the most fortunate people on Earth. I was given a special talent to play tennis, and I did it at a level that I never imagined, for much longer than I ever thought possible.”

Rafael Nadal pictured at Wimbledon on June 28, 2022© Reuters

Nadal was asked about the prospect of teaming up with Federer for Friday’s doubles encounter, and the 22-time major winner hailed his counterpart as the “most important” player in his tennis career.

“One of the most important, if not the most important player in my tennis career is leaving. At the end, this moment will be difficult. I’m super-excited and grateful to play with him,” BBC Sport quotes Nadal as saying.

Prior to Friday’s doubles match, three singles encounters will take place, as Casper Ruud takes on Sock in the opening match before Stefanos Tsitsipas meets Diego Schwartzman.

Andy Murray will round off Friday’s singles action against Alex de Minaur, while Novak Djokovic, Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger-Aliassime will be in action later in the tournament – Cameron Norrie and Tommy Paul have been named as alternates.

Bjorn Borg‘s Team Europe won the first four editions of the Laver Cup in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021, with John McEnroe aiming to finally get one over his old adversary this time around.

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